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Entries in Cinematography (259)

Tuesday
Aug232016

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "The Get Down"

We cannot catch a break here at TFE Headquarters this week (honesty this summer. Uff) so this one will be brief. If you haven't yet seen Baz Luhrmann's latest, the first half of a first season of a show about the birth of hiphop called "The Get Down" have at it. Due to time constraints we've only watched the first episode but it delivered on the Baz-ness that we have so desperately missed.

Here's my choice for best shot with commentary after the jump...

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Sunday
Aug212016

"Best Shot" Finale

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Apologies that last week's episode was  delayed one week but real life got in the way. So this Tuesday I'll be discussing Baz Luhrmann's The Get Down and Splash will serve as our season (series?) finale of Hit Me With Your Best Shot next week. It'll also double as the wrap up of our Year of the Month (1984) just after the Smackdown.

And then it's on to fall film season, festivals, and Oscar build-up! 

This Tuesday Evening, August 23rd
THE GET DOWN (2016) 

Pick one shot from the first episode of Baz Luhrmann's Netflix series described as "a mythic saga of how New York at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco"... though from more intricate descriptions it sounds like it's mostly hip-hop we're talking about.  Can he bring that Moulin Rouge! magic? Was it worth the insane investment with a budget of $10 million per episode? (The first half of the first season -- six of twelve episodes -- began streaming on August 12th) 

SEASON FINALE  - Tuesday Evening, August 30th
SPLASH (1984)
With 1984 being our "year of the month" and a rumored gender flipped remake coming, we'll look back at the best live-action mermaid movie that I was obsessed with as a kid. Daryl Hannah's Crimped Hair forever!

 

Wednesday
Aug102016

Best Shot/Best Costume: "Les Girls"

For this week's episode of our cinematography series Hit Me With Your Best Shot we wanted a slight curveball as a way to celebrate the release of the Costume Design documentary Women He's Undressed. It's now available to rent on iTunes or purchase on other digital platforms. (Jose's interview with the director here). The film is about the legendary Orry-Kelly, who designed a truckload of classic Hollywood features and stars, and won three Oscars in the 1950s for An American in Paris, Les Girls  and Some Like It Hot.  So those playing "Best Shot" this week could choose any of those three. I watched Les Girls since it gets the least attention and they even use its image for the documentary's poster (left).

Les Girls  (George Cukor, 1957) is not well remembered today but curiously it reminds us yet again that mainstream Hollywood in the 50s and 60s paid a lot of attention to foreign auteurs and absorbed (or ripped off - you be the judge) their styles and conceits. The semi-musical (a few dance numbers mainly) concerns a libel lawsuit involving a former showbiz act "Barry Nichols and Les Girls" and in the courtroom we hear three different versions of the group's break up in Paris. In each of the stories Barry Nichols (Gene Kelly) gets mixed up romantically with a different girl (America's Mitzi Gaynor, Britain's Kay Kendall, and Finland's Taina Elg) and their musical act eventually implodes. It's clearly modelled on Akira Kurosawa's Rashômon (1950) which had taken an Honorary Oscar from the Academy earlier that decade.

Taina Elg quits dancing in Les Girls (1957)

So let's choose a best shot and a best costume after the jump. Happily my three favorite shots come from each of the film's three acts...

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Tuesday
Aug092016

A First Glimpse of Villeneuve's 'Arrival'

Chris here with a first look at one of the fall's big Oscar question marks. Last year, Denis Villeneuve's Sicario did quite well by Oscar standards if you consider its punishing bleakness and divisiveness even if it missed the major races. This year he's returning with the sci-fi Arrival, and we've been patiently waiting to see if this will raise his Oscar cache.

To go with the building buzz, here are our first looks...

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Saturday
Jul302016

HMYBS: Close Encounters of the Julia Kind

Best Shot 1977 Party, Finale
Julia Cinematography by: Douglas Slocombe (2nd of 3 nominations)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind Cinematography by: Vilmos Zsigmond (1st of 4 nominations. His only win)

In case you missed our little Cinematography 1977 party we previously looked at the Oscar nominees Looking for Mr Goodbar, The Turning Point, and the little seen Ernest Hemingway inspired drama Islands in the Stream. Now that we're entirely out of time (SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN OF 1977 IS TOMORROW!) here's a quick look at our final two nominated pictures. This time we'll do it in the abbreviated spirit we always intended for the series but could never manage due to longwindedness: a single image and why we claim it as "best".

JULIA

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Friday
Jul292016

HMWYBS: A Sensational Diane Keaton in "Looking for Mr Goodbar" 

Best Shot 1977 Party. Chapter 3
Looking for Mr Goodbar (1977)
Directed by: Richard Brooks
Cinematography by: William A Fraker

Finally with chapter 3 in our look back at the Cinematography nominees of 1977 -- a little prep work for the Supporting Actress Smackdown (last day to get your ballots in) -- a real threat to Close Encounter of the Third Kind for the Best Cinematography crown. Close Encounters won the Oscar, its sole competitive Oscar, but William A Fraker was more than worthy as a nominee for his evocative experimental work on Looking for Mr Goodbar. The cinematography (along with its swinging partner, the editing) are ready and able to capture the whirlwind moods, liberated momentum, self-deprecating humor, and multiple flashes of fear within this time capsule of the sexual revolution.

My only regret in showcasing the cinematography for this series is that good images are hard to come by. More (a little bit NSFW) after the jump...

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